Ecological Footprint, Energy Consumption, and the Looming Collapse:

This article explores dynamic relations governing population growth, resource depletion, and world economics by means of a few simple modeling and simulation exercises. To this end, we start out by exploring the concept of an ecological footprint, representing the amount of land that a person needs to produce everything that he or she consumes: food, clothing, energy, shelter, the tools that are needed to make the clothing, etc. and place it in relation with the human development index, a measure of the quality of life of an individual. We then relate the ecological footprint to the per capita energy consumption. This discussion serves to provide a quantitative understanding of the limited resources that are at our disposal.

Grist relies on the support of generous readers like you. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations matched!

The article continues by exploring the dangers and seductions of exponential growth, and uses a system dynamics approach to illustrate why we are moving at a rapid pace toward global collapse with our eyes wide shut.

The article ends by discussing what we would need to do in order to avoid the looming collapse.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.